Color Coded Clock Runs On Roman Numerals

Roman numerals are, by modern standards, a bit unusual. By virtue of using designations for both 5 and 10, and not scaling well to higher numbers, they’ve fallen out of favor outside of some specific uses. One of those is in time keeping, in which many clocks use the classical numerals instead of the more popular Arabic replacements. [Nicola]’s clock does too, albeit in a rather unusual way.

A diagram of the clock displaying the times 18:40 and 23:04.

The build begins with a faux-neon palm tree LED decoration, which is gutted and refitted with a WS2812B LED strip, run by an Arduino Nano. An RTC is used to keep accurate time, and the time is set by running a one-off program to initialise the clock.

To tell the time, the LEDs are color coded. However, instead of using a binary representation that many can find unfamiliar, colors are chosen instead to correspond to Roman numerals. Blue, green, red and yellow are chosen to represent 1, 5, 10, and 50, or I, V, X, and L respectively. The Github has more details for the curious. The clock uses 24 hour time, and we think we’ve figured out how the display works – with hours on the left and minutes on the right.

It’s fun to see an LED clock that takes a different bent on the usual themes. We’ve seen plenty over the years, from the byte clock to this stunning blinkenlights build. If you’ve cooked up your own special timepiece, be sure to let us know.

2 thoughts on “Color Coded Clock Runs On Roman Numerals

    1. My computer has a clock, my TV has a clock, my microwave has a clock, my oven has a clock, my Obamaphone has a clock, my coffemaker has a clock… How little space do you have and how do you manage without walls?

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